Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To blow in light gusts; puff.
  • intransitive verb To move lightly or erratically.
  • intransitive verb To make a light whistling noise.
  • intransitive verb To blow, displace, or scatter with gusts of air.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A fife.
  • To blow in gusts; hence, to veer about, as the wind.
  • To change from one opinion or course to another; use evasions; prevaricate; be fickle or unsteady; waver.
  • To trifle; talk idly.
  • To disperse with a puff; blow away; scatter.
  • To cause to change, as from one opinion or course to another.
  • To shake or wave quickly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To waver, or shake, as if moved by gusts of wind; to shift, turn, or veer about.
  • intransitive verb To change from one opinion or course to another; to use evasions; to prevaricate; to be fickle.
  • transitive verb obsolete To disperse with, or as with, a whiff, or puff; to scatter.
  • transitive verb To wave or shake quickly; to cause to whiffle.
  • noun obsolete A fife or small flute.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A short blow or gust
  • noun obsolete Something small or insignificant; a trifle.
  • noun obsolete A fife or small flute.
  • verb to blow a short gust
  • verb to waffle, talk aimlessly
  • verb UK to waste time
  • verb to travel quickly, whizz, whistle, with an accompanying wind-like sound
  • verb ornithology, of a bird to descending rapidly from a height once the decision to land has been made, involving fast side-slipping first one way and then the other

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Perhaps frequentative of whiff.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1662, in sense “flutter as blown by wind”, as whiff +‎ -le (“(frequentive)”) and (onomatopoeia) sound of wind, particularly a leaf fluttering in unsteady wind; compare whiff. Sense “something small or insignificant” is from 1680.

Examples

Comments

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  • I did not realise until today that -le was a frequentive suffix.

    October 3, 2019

  • "from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

    1662, in sense “flutter as blown by wind”, as whiff +‎ -le (“(frequentive)”) and (onomatopoeia) sound of wind, particularly a leaf fluttering in unsteady wind; compare whiff. Sense “something small or insignificant” is from 1680."

    October 4, 2019